Fix and Restore External Hard Drive Shows Only 32 GB to Full Capacity

Tracy King updated on Dec 11, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Does your WD, Seagate, Toshiba or LaCie external hard drive only show 32GB on your computer? When your 1TB, 2TB or 750GB external hard drive shows only 32 GB capacity on the computer, don’t worry. Here on this page, you’ll find reliable methods provided by EaseUS software to help you out of external hard drive shows only 32GB error and even restore the drive to full capacity without losing any data now.

Don't worry when your external hard drive shows only 32GB. We have a complete fix for you. All you need is to follow through provided methods in the below and you will get your drive full capacity back:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Part 1. Restore Drive Capacity Method 1. Update external hard drive driver...Full steps
Method 2. Update firmware of external drive...Full steps
Method 3. Delete and create new partition...Full steps
Part 2. Restore Data For the deleted partition data, run EaseUS recovery software > Scan and recover...Full steps

Hi guys, do you know how to restore a 1TB external hard drive which shows only 32GB on Windows 10 PC back to its original space without losing any data on it? I have a 1TB Seagate external hard drive which saves about 200GB of useful data. Last week, I installed Windows 10 on my computer with the external hard drive, creating an installation tool on it.

After the Windows installation, I connected the external hard drive to my computer, and it turns out that my computer can only read 32GB files which are just about Windows installation. Where are my old data? Is it possible to access the lost data back and restore the 32GB external hard drive to its full capacity again? How?

According to the online searching result, it seems that many ordinary people have encountered the external hard drive or hard drive, USB, etc. not showing the right capacity issue. And external hard drive showing 32GB is a top issue that has confused many ordinary users. So what makes 1TB or even 2TB external hard drive shows only 32GB? 

Here is a list of reasons why external hard drive or USB shows only 32GB:

  1. Creating WinPE bootable disk
  2. Creating a Windows installation or Windows backup image disk
  3. External hard drive storage error

So how to fix this issue and restore the full capacity to your external hard drive or USB, hard drive? Here this page has gathered reliable methods for you to try and you can follow the two parts below to fix this issue right now:

If you have critical data saved on the external hard drive or USB 3.0 external hard drive, Part 2 with powerful hard drive data recovery software will guide you to get all data back with just a few simple clicks.

Part 1. Fix and restore external hard drive which shows only 32GB to full capacity

As we’ve mentioned in the above paragraphs, the reasons why external hard drive, hard drive or USB with huge capacity becomes only 32GB available are varied. So the ways to fix this issue and restore full capacity to the storage device are also multiple. Here you’ll find three recommended methods, and you can follow and follow one to fix and restore your device to its original full capacity now:

Method 1. Update external hard drive driver

Step 1. Connect the not working USB flash drive to PC, right-click on This PC/My Computer and choose Properties.

Update drive driver to fix 32GB shows only error.

Step 2. Click "device manager" on the left taskbar >  Expand USB Serial Bus controller, then you'll see a yellow exclamation mark, and right-click on it and select "Update driver" or "update driver software".

Fix 32GB shows only error on external hard drive.

Step 3. Click "automatically search for driver software online"...

Update drivers on external hard drive to fix 32GB only shows on external hard drive

Method 2. Update the firmware of an external hard drive

To do this, you’ll have 3 steps to take and follow to see the detail operation steps now:

Step 1. Check the firmware version of your external hard drive/hard drive/USB

1. Connect your external hard drive to the PC.

2. Right-click on Windows icon and select Device Manager.

Check firmware of external hard drive.

3. Select Disk Drivers, expand it, then find and right-click on your external hard drive, select Properties.

4. Click Details and then select Hardware IDs from the Properties drop-down menu.The manufacturer and firmware version information will appear in the Value box.

Check firmware version of external hard drive.

Step 2. Download the firmware update of your external hard drive/device

1. Go to the website of your external hard drive’s manufacturer and enter the support page of the company or searching for download drivers on the website.

2. Click Support, Download or Drivers.

3. Then enter the model number of your external hard drive or hard drive in Search Knowledgebase, Search Downloads or Model / Parts ID to find the right one.

4. Check for update firmware. 

  1. If the new firmware of your drive is available, click Download, Install or Download Firmware to download and install it to a portable USB drive.

Step 3. Burn downloaded ISO and upgrade the firmware

1. Open the portable USB which saves your firmware ISO of the external hard drive and right-click on the ISO file, select Burn Disk Image.

2. Insert a writable disk or USB to your PC and select the optical drive from the Drive Burner and click Burn.

3. Restart your PC and the burned disk or USB drive, press F2, F10, F12 or Esc to bring up BIOS.

4. Select your optical or USB drive using the arrow keys and hit Enter.

5. Follow the firmware upgrade instructions and when you complete the upgrade process, you’ll get a working external hard drive with full capacity by then.

You can now check whether it’s recognized by the computer with its right capacity or not. If not, try Method 3 and it’ll help you to solve this issue.

Method 3. Delete 32GB partition and create new partition to restore full capacity on the external hard drive

When the computer only recognizes the 32GB partition on your external or internal hard drive, the best way to restore it to full capacity is to delete the 32GB partition and create a whole new partition on it:

1. Connect the external hard drive to PC and right-click on Device Manager, select Disk Management.

2. Locate and right-click on a 32GB partition on your external hard drive, and select Delete Volume. 

Note: If you have important data saved on the drive, you can now follow Part 2 to restore all lost data with the help of powerful data recovery software now.

3. When Disk Management shows you a whole unallocated space on the external hard drive, right-click on it and select the New simple volume to create a new partition with all space on it.

4. Rename the drive and set the file system to NTFS.

After this, you should be able to use the external hard drive with the full capacity to save data again.

Part 2. Restore data from an external hard drive which shows only 32GB

If you have important data saved on the external hard drive which used to show you with only 32GB space, you can apply the best hard drive data recovery software provided by EaseUS to fully scan and find all lost data with ease now:

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

After this, you should be able to use your 1TB or 1TB WD, Seagate, Toshiba or Lecia etc external hard drive for saving data again. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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